Rory McIlroy had been making his first appearance at the Valero Texas Open since 2013, as he ramped up his preparation for the Masters which begins in just a matter of days.
However, the 32-year-old would struggle around San Antonio, with rounds of 72 and 73 meaning a one-over-par tournament total and a first missed cut since the Scottish Open back in July 2021.
Prior to the event, the four-time Major winner stated that he "played well here (Texas) back in 2013" and that it "definitely gave me some confidence going into Augusta, and I ended up having a decent week there."
As well as playing the event, McIlroy also stated that he "just wanted to mix it up" and go into Augusta National feeling sharp, revealing he hasn't "really enjoyed the format of the Match Play (last week's event) the last couple years."
The Northern Irishman's plans for Augusta National and the Masters though could have gone better, with McIlroy struggling in Texas as an inconsistent first round of six birdies, six pars and six bogies, was followed up by a second round of a single birdie and two bogies.
Although this now means McIlroy will have more time to prep for Augusta National, something that he was seen doing earlier this week as he stopped off to check the course out, he is still looking to add the Green Jacket to his incredible CV and complete the career Grand Slam.
In 2014, after winning the Open Championship, the Northern Irishman had secured three of the four Major championships, with just the Masters left to go. Many voices in the golfing world have stated that McIlroy will indeed pick up the Green Jacket at some point in his career, especially around a venue where he has six top-10 finishes.
His closest call arguably came in 2011 though, where he heartbreakingly shot a final round 80 after leading the field by four shots going into the final day on Sunday. After a one-over-par front nine, McIlroy had still been leading. However, a pulled tee shot on the 10th started a chain reaction that saw him finish 10 shots back of eventual winner, Charl Schwartzel.
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Matt joined Golf Monthly in February 2021 covering weekend news, before also transitioning to equipment and testing. After freelancing for Golf Monthly and The PGA for 18 months, he was offered a full-time position at the company in October 2022 and continues to cover weekend news and social media, as well as help look after Golf Monthly’s many buyers’ guides and equipment reviews.
Taking up the game when he was just seven years of age, Matt made it into his county squad just a year later and continues to play the game at a high standard, with a handicap of around 2-4. To date, his best round came in 2016, where he shot a six-under-par 66 having been seven-under through nine holes. He currently plays at Witney Lakes in Oxfordshire and his favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.
Matt’s current What’s In The Bag?
Driver: Honma TW747, 8.75°
Fairway Wood: TaylorMade Rocketballz Stage 2, 15°, 19°
Hybrid: Adams Super Hybrid, 22°
Irons: Mizuno MP54, 5-PW
Wedges: Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Tour Satin, 50°, 56°, 60°
Putter: Cleveland TFI 2135 Satin Cero
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
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